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Let's Talk Receiver In Canal (RIC / RITE) Hearing Aids
What Do You Need To Know About RICs?
So, receiver in canal or receiver in the ear hearing aids were introduced more than a couple of years ago. They are exceptionally popular with professionals and consumers alike because they are small, discreet and hugely versatile. Their popularity has just increased since they were introduced and they make up a huge part of global hearing aid sales. Like everything in life they have their advantages and disadvantages. We get asked a lot of questions about the devices so we decided to try and answer them all on one page. Below you can see the most frequent questions and answers, the pros and cons and finally RIC hearing aids available from the big brands. You can read about other hearing aid types here.
What's The Difference Between Receiver In Canal & Receiver In The Ear?
Not much, some manufacturers call them RIC, some call them RITE. That really is the only difference, they are exactly the same concept.
What Hearing Aid Brands Manufacture RIC RITE Hearing Aids
That's pretty easy, all of them deliver RICs, every single brand has at least one type of receiver in canal hearing aid and most have more than one, many more than one. Believe me, you won't be short of choice.
Receiver In Canal Hearing Aid Prices
The big question is always about the costs of RIC / RITE hearing aids. Normally, there is never any difference in prices between the cost of Receiver In Canal hearing aid types and other hearing aid types within the same range or platform. So you won't pay a premium if you choose RIC hearing aids over anything else that is available in the same range or level of technology.
What Does Receiver Mean?
The Receiver in Receiver In Canal refers to the speaker of the hearing aid, in this context it simply means that the receiver or speaker goes into your ear canal. It is attached to the main body of the RIC hearing aid by an electronic wire. This adds benefits but can cause reliability problems, the benefits are better sound for less amplification, the problem is that wax or moisture can kill the receiver. That leads me to the next question.
Replacing A Receiver in a RIC / RITE
Replacing a receiver in a RIC or RITE is pretty simple. In some cases like Widex and some other manufacturers you simply pull the old receiver out of the hearing aid where it connects and push in the new one. It is like a plug and socket set up and is really easy. In the case of other hearing aid brands you need to slide or remove a pin with a tool or something pointed, take out the old receiver. Simply slide in the new one securely and then slide the pin back. Generally, you can find youtube videos on the process or the people who sell them online, like us, will give you instructions.
What is The Smallest RIC available?
Well that used to be the Widex Passion, Widex held that title for years. The Passion is small, svelte and sits very nicely on the ear. However, a new contender has knocked them from the throne! Unitron now holds the title with their latest RIC offering the Unitron Now, it is officially the smallest ever wireless RIC hearing device.
RIC Versus BTE Hearing Aids
We often get asked which is better, RICs or BTEs? The answer isn't simple and it depends on what your hearing loss is and what level of discretion you need. RICs can be less reliable than BTE hearing aids, however, the problems that usually occur are both avoidable and easy to fix. RICs are discreet and can often cover a loss down to profound, a BTE that covers that type of loss is going to be bigger and less discreet. The BTE will also use a tube and a mould, the RIC just has that slim wire and a special custom tip. Again, the RIC set up is more discreet. The RIC receiver may fail though, while the chances of anything going wrong with the BTE are pretty remote. BTEs are generally much more reliable, again though, replacing the receiver in a RIC is easy peasy. Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of RIC / RITEs.
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The Pros & Cons of RIC Hearing Aids
As with many things in life there are pros and cons with RIC / RITE hearing aids, let's take a deeper look at them. First, let's take a look at the receiver in canal advantages.
The Advantages Of RIC Devices
They are highly discreet devices, although the body of the hearing aid sits behind the ear they are normally very small and discreet. Unless someone is actually checking they invariably go un-noticed. The wire that leads from the body of the hearing aid into the ear canal is tiny and should sit along the crease of your face at the ear, hence, it is almost un-noticeable as well. Because of these two facts, these are among the most discreet hearing aids available.
Easy Change Receivers
Because the receiver is interchangeable these hearing aids can cover varied hearing losses from mild all the way through to severe to profound. It also means that if the receiver fails, which happens, it is easily changed out for a new one. This means that the hearing aid does not have to go away for repair for a receiver change, it can be done instantly in the office if the hearing professional has spare receivers. Or, it can be done by you if you are confident enough.
The Disadvantages of RIC Devices
Receiver Issues in RICs/RITEs
The fact that the receiver is placed in the canal or the ear is both a blessing and curse. This placement exposes it to the hostile environment that the ear is for electronics. Your ear canal is wet warm and oily, all of the things that electronics tend not to like. The manufacturers take great pains to protect the receivers with nano coating materials, enclosed casings and wax guard protectors. However, unless you take good care of the receivers, changing your wax guards when you should, inevitably wax gets into them.
At best, this can just block the sound outlet, at worst, it can ingress into the receiver itself and destroy it. Wax and moisture is the kiss of death for receivers. Thankfully, the receivers are easily replaced by your hearing professional, however, after the manufacturer's warranty is up you may have to pay for them. While they vary in cost, they are not expensive, however, if you are replacing them regularly, the cost adds up.
I don't want to put you off this device types, they are exceptionally versatile and I really like them. If you are recommended this type of device just be aware of the receiver issues. Many of the hearing healthcare professionals we partner with can arrange a five-year manufacturer's warranty to cover repairs. Some may charge, some may actually offer it for free. If you are considering buying RICs, ask about an extended manufacturers warranty.
Maybe Too Small!
As I said, RICs / RITEs are very small and discreet devices, normally the smaller they are, the smaller the battery they use. Both the size of the hearing aid and the size of the battery can cause difficulties for people with dexterity issues. The whole idea of acquiring hearing aids is so that you can wear them and enjoy the very real benefits of hearing better. If you have difficulty handling them to put them in, what should be a joy can easily turn into a frustrating task. The same has to be said about the batteries, small batteries can be a nightmare for people with vision or dexterity issues. Many of the hearing aid manufacturers offer RIC / RITE hearing aids in a variety of sizes and battery sizes, for instance, Phonak offer the Audeo V range in a size 10 battery, a size 312 battery and a size 13 battery.
Contra-indications To Wearing RICs / RITEs
There are some people who shouldn't wear these type of devices. If you have permanent perforations in your ears or you have had a mastoid operation these hearing devices aren't really for you. As you will know if you have these problems there is an increased risk of middle ear infections and fluid release. Either will destroy the receivers of the hearing aids, because of the nature of your ears with these conditions receiver failures would be an ongoing problem rather than an occasional frustration. The same can be said for people who suffer from wet ears or produce a large amount of earwax, either condition will cause issues for the receivers. You can read about the best way to clean and maintain RIC hearing aids here.
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The Best RIC / RITE Hearing Aids From The Big Hearing Aid Brands
I have detailed below the latest receiver in canal / receiver in the ear hearing aids from all of the big hearing aid manufacturers. I have only covered the very latest available otherwise this page would be a couple of hundred foot long. I hope that it will be helpful nevertheless, you really only need to know about the latest and best hearing aids available.
Resound LiNX 3D Receiver in Ear Models
Resound LiNX 3D 61 RIC (Receiver In Canal)
The Resound LiNX 3D is the latest range of Made For iPhone hearing aids from GN. The range has RIC hearing aids, in fact it has two types. The range is available in three levels of technology, the 9, the 7 and the 5.
Linx 3D 61 Prices
We would expect the range to be sold at prices from £1200.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1400.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1400.00 to $3200.00 in the USA. Just to be clear, we don't set prices here and they differ from Practice to Practice across the World so our expectations aren't binding, they are just a guess and some research. Always remember, we all like to shop around, but always be clear about what is being delivered. You will need care and support, make sure you will get it. You will also need your hearing aid validated or verified to get the best experience, paying a little more to ensure your experience is good, is not wasted money. That's our price rant for the day over, let's talk about the devices.
The LT61 is a small receiver in the ear hearing aid, because of the size, there is no telecoil onboard. The device is available with four levels of receiver power, LP, MP, HP and UP which means it can cover a lot of hearing loss, in fact from mild all the way to severe to profound.
The functional features of this model are as follows, it can have a push button, volume control, the devices all have smart start which gives you a couple of seconds to get it in your ear before it comes on. However, you will get the direct audio streaming, ear to ear communication, and wireless accessories. More importantly, you will get access to the Smart 3D app and all the benefits that it delivers to your experience. These aids take a size 312 battery.
Resound LiNX 3D 62 RIC (Receiver In Canal)
The price should be exactly the same as the LT61 device.
The LT62 is a small receiver in the ear hearing aid, with a telecoil onboard. The device is available with four levels of receiver power, LP, MP, HP and UP which means it can cover a lot of hearing loss, in fact from mild all the way to severe to profound.
The functional features of this model are as follows, it can have a push button, volume control, the devices all have smart start which gives you a couple of seconds to get it in your ear before it comes on. However, you will get the direct audio streaming, ear to ear communication, and wireless accessories.
More importantly, you will get access to the Smart 3D app and all the benefits that it delivers to your experience. These aids take a size 13 battery.
Phonak RIC Hearing Aids
Audeo Belong Hearing Devices
The Audeo Belong Receiver In Canal hearing device range is the first Phonak hearing device range with a rechargeable option. This in itself is quite an amazing innovation and a new direction for them. You can see the rest of the Phonak hearing aid range here.
The range uses the existing Venture chipset and is available in four technology levels, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30, although the rechargeable option is not available in the 30 level of technology, perhaps in the next platform. That is a pity because the rechargeable hearing devices are proving amazingly popular.
Audeo Belong Prices
We would expect the Audeo Belong range to be sold at prices from £800.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1000.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1000.00 to $3200.00 in the USA.
The Audeo range, as always, will be a full model line up with four models. They will include B90-10, B90-312, B90-312t, the B90-13 and the rechargeable B90-R.
Widex RIC Hearing Aids
Widex offers three separate types of RIC hearing aid, the Passion, The Fusion and The Beyond. They are all available in four levels of technology and are hugely versatile hearing aids that all offer something a little different. You can take a look at the full range of Widex hearing aids here
RIC Hearing Aid Prices
We would expect the RIC range to be sold at prices from £800.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1000.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1000.00 to $3200.00 in the USA.
Signia Primax RIC Hearing Aids
Signia /Siemens have always had a range of RIC hearing devices and they have just added to it with their latest introduction the Pure 13 BT Made For iPhone hearing device. They offer their hearing aids in a similar way to Phonak, they name their hearing aid types differently and use a numeral to signify the technology level. For instance, the Primax platform (chipset) is split into three technology levels, the 7 at the top, through 5 to 3 at the bottom. The hearing aids types are called Insio for custom hearing aids, Motion for BTE hearing aids and just to confuse everyone they have several different RIC / RITE hearing aid types called Pure, Carat, Cellion and Ace. Believe me, even professionals have a hard time keeping up. You can see the rest of the Signia hearing aid range here.
- UK Price: £1200.00 to £2200.00
- Irish Price: €1400.00 to €3000.00
- US Price:$1400.00 to $3200.00